kzkThe Commission for Protection of Competition has instituted an ex officio proceedings for the investigation of infringement of competition on the payment cards market against the MasterCard payment card organization’s respective market competitor as well, that is, against the following three companies: VISA Incorporated and VISA International Service Association, with registered seat in Foster City, California, and VISA CEMEA Holdings Limited, with registered seat in London (hereinafter, VISA payment card organization).

The analysis of competitive conditions pertaining to the payment cards market in the Republic of Serbia has demonstrated the necessity to also institute a proceedings against VISA payment card organization based on the same facts and legal basis. Namely, the Commission has reasonably assumed that VISA payment card organization, as a form of association of undertakings in the market of the Republic of Serbia, within the meaning of Article 10 of the Law on Protection of Competition, also sets the fallback interchange fees in an unfair amount, implemented by banks in the territory of the Republic of Serbia within the VISA payment card system. In such manner, VISA payment card organization has exercised an influence on the merchant service charge increase – a merchant bank fee paid for each payment card transaction, charged by banks to merchants for accepting a card for payment (hereinafter, merchant fee). The largest portion of merchant fees (approx. 60-70%) account for the interchange fees. The interchange fees in the Republic of Serbia are currently several times higher than in the EU markets. This further indicates that merchants accepting a card for payment pass on a part of the costs of merchant fee to consumers through higher retail prices, regardless of whether the payment is made by payment cards or in cash. Consequently, the competition on the card acquiring market in regard to merchant fees offered to merchants for the card acquiring service is restricted, with potential adverse influence on the state of competition on the card issuing market in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, given the incentive of banks to offer payment cards yielding the highest interchange proceeds for services provided in relation to POS (point of sale) transactions.

All persons in possession of data, documents or other relevant information which could contribute to the accurate fact-finding in this proceedings are called upon to submit said evidence to the Commission for Protection of Competition to the address 25/IV Savska St., Belgrade.